Prevent Cold and Flu With Natural Medicines
Studies show that Natural Medicines can prevent cold and flu and boost your immune system as well as provide a direct defence against infection.
Zinc inhibits cold and flu viruses and it is a key mineral to assist your immune system in reducing the severity and duration of a cold or flu. I do not use the RDA (recommended daily allowance) because the levels are too low when preventing health conditions.
So, it would be wise to include throughout your day a variety of the following foods to maintain healthy zinc levels of around 15 mg per day. Supplements are needed if your immune system is compromised. Here are the foods that are high in zinc. Each milligram (mg) amount relates to 100 grams of that food.
- Oysters 18 mg
- Beef 8 mg
- Cashews 5.5 mg
- Lamb 5.3 mg
- Pork 4.6 mg
- Cheese 4 mg
- Almonds 3.6 mg
- Lentils 3.3 mg
- Chicken 2.5 mg
- 10.Oats 2.3 mg
2. Vitamin C
As a result of the colder months in winter, there is an increase in cold and flu occurrences throughout the community. Vitamin C supports healthy immune function by enhancing the activity of white blood cells. Also, it helps reduce the severity and duration of symptoms. To combat this, you will need more vitamin C, approximately 500 mg per day. Either take a vitamin C supplement or include these foods several times throughout the day. The amount of vitamin C relates to 100 grams of that food.
- Limes 347 mg
- Nori 290 mg
- Capsicum red 172 mg
- Parsley 123 mg
- Lemon peel 129 mg
- Kale 120 mg
- Broccoli 106 mg
- Kiwifruit 110 mg
- Cabbage 100 mg
- 10.Rocket 83 mg
Additional supplemental vitamin C will be required if your catch a cold of flu.
3. Vitamin D
Vitamin D acts as an inflammatory and also helps to build your immune system if you are deficient. What can you do if you can’t get any sun to increase your vitamin D? ref. Aim to increase your intake of food rich in vitamin D to1000 IU per day.
If you get sick, depending on your vitamin D deficiency, you may need a supplement dose of around 2000-5000 IU per day. With that said here are the foods that are high in vitamin D. Each International Unit (IU) amount relates to 100 grams of that food.
- Salmon, sushi style 170 IU
- Canned pink salmon 500 IU
- Sardines 130 IU
- Cod 20 IU
- Mushrooms contain on average 170 IU
- Egg yolks – 28 IU
Echinacea acts as an immune modulator. So, if your immune system is low echinacea boosts your immune cells. If your immune system is overactive, it balances the immune function depending on the body’s needs ref. The two types of echinacea have been shown to provide benefits to the immune system:
- Echinacea Angustifolia
- Echinacea Puprurea
Start with tablets or capsules and follow the instructions on the label.
A higher dose may be recommended by a naturopath or herbalist depending on the severity of your condition and the supplement’s potency.
Andrographis is a powerful herb that stimulates the body’s natural immune response. It can be used as a preventive. Also, it is beneficial for acute treatment and reducing the duration of cold symptoms.
Astragalus membranous is a traditional Chinese herb. On the whole, studies show that Astragalus has both antiviral and immune-enhancing properties, ref. It works by stimulating immune cells, such as.
- T-helper cells.
Garlic has medicinal properties that have been used for centuries. From, Roman physicians who considered garlic a universal remedy in the first century to Russian doctors in the early 1900s who used garlic for the treatment of respiratory tract diseases. They referred to garlic as Russian penicillin, ref. Furthermore, garlic contains a compound called Alliin (S-allyl cysteine sulfoxide) that helps the immune system fight bugs.
How to use garlic
- Add garlic to your cooking 4-5 days per week.
- Garlic elixir, “Garlic recipe for sore throats.”
The use of raw onion dates back to the 1500s where it was used to reduce symptoms of colds, flu and other mild respiratory conditions. More specifically runny nose, sore throat, congestion, mucus and coughs. Due to compounds found in onions called flavonoids and organosulfur. As a result, onions are a great way to manage these mild respiratory conditions. This onion cough mixture may help to soothe a sore throat.
How to use onion
- Add onion to your cooking 4-5 days per week.
- In a cough mixture Try my “Home Made Onion Cough Mixture.”
9. Medicinal Mushrooms
Medicinal mushrooms can make a big difference towards prevention and recovery. Studies have shown:
To be beneficial in enhancing the immune system. Besides that, they assist in resolving short-term, chronic and recurrent infections.
How to use Medicinal Mushrooms
- The best way to start is to add mushrooms to your meals 4-5 days per week. Taking them once a month will not give you any benefit.
- Make mushroom tonic to boost your immune system. Try my recipe for Ganoderma Tea.
- Quality and dosage. All the products with supply have met our high standards. Generally, I recommend taking tablets or capsules. The dose will vary depending on the severity of your condition and the supplement potency. As a starting point follow the recommendations on the label.
- You may be looking to try mushrooms for a specific health issue. It would be wise to seek the professional advice of a doctor or naturopath beforehand.
- Also, avoid picking mushrooms in the wild unless you are one hundred percent sure you know what it is. Many toxic mushrooms grow in the wild, be careful. A friend of mine almost died from liver failure after eating what he thought was eatable mushroom in the forest.
- Ganoderma Tea. Ganoderma lucidum, commonly know as reishi mushroom is hard when dried. It boosts the immune system in viral and bacterial infections. How to make ganoderma tea
Studies show fresh ginger supports the immune system with its anti-viral action, ref. Besides that, it is also anti-spasmodic meaning it can help to stop coughing spasms.
1 tsp of freshly diced ginger
1 cup boiling water
Finely dice ginger until you have approximately 1 tsp of fresh diced ginger. Place it in a cup and add boiling water, and put a saucer on top of the cup and allow steep for 10 minutes. Drink like normal tea. If you have a persistent cough, you may notice your cough less. As a guide, have 2-3 cups spread out over the day.
11. N-acetyl L-cysteine
Also, know as NAC for short, N-acetyl L-cysteine is sourced from the amino acid L-cysteine. It has been shown to reduce the duration and severity of the flu. One large study’s results over six months measure a 54% reduction in flu symptoms when compared to the placebo group. NAC significantly reduces the duration and severity of flu symptoms. The research also mentioned that NAC is helpful in the prevention and assist in the treatment of cold and flu in both children and the elderly. ref
Probiotics are one of the best defences against ingested pathogens. To illustrate this – probiotics reduce cold and flu occurrence. ref. Furthermore they have been scientifically proven to enhance immune responses due to their ability to support a healthy gut immunity. Also these specific probiotic strains have been shown to reduce the symptoms and duration of the common cold:
- Lactobacillus rhamnosus (LGG)
- Lactobacillus plantarum HEAL 9 and
- Lactobacillus paracasei 8700:2
Check out my post on the quality of herbs “Don’t be Fooled. Not all Herbs are Equal”
If you have trouble getting any of these herbs, give me a yell.
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In wisdom and good health
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Written by: Brendon Groves Clinical Naturopathic Practitioner and Founder of Groves Naturopathics